THOMASVILLE — As the result of a Tuesday order handed down by Gov. Brian Kemp, 911 centers statewide will be provided addresses with confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The state health department will send addresses to the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority (GECA), a division of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.
“GECA will, in turn, divide it up by county,” said Whitney Hopkins, Thomas County 911 director.
Only addresses with confirmed cases will be sent to 911 centers. Names will not be included.
The process is expected to begin Thursday.
Addresses will be entered in the 911 computer system and flagged. The addresses will show up and be relayed to dispatched law enforcement, fire/rescue agencies and the emergency medical service (EMS).
“We have been requesting that for weeks of the state department of public health,” said Tim Coram, EMS chief. “We’re treating everybody as if they’re positive.”
Hopkins said the addresses will remain with 911 for 21 days from either the day of testing for the virus or for 21 days from the date an address is received by 911.
“It absolutely is going to be a help for the responding units,” Hopkins said.
Said interim Thomasville Fire-Rescue Chief Tim Connell, “It’s a great thing for us knowing prior to going to the residences.”
While addresses of confirmed cases will be received by 911, others who live at an address might not have been tested, Hopkins said.
TFR’s 44 firefighters also are trained as emergency medical technicians and/or paramedics and respond to medical calls with EMS personnel.
Connell said more responses are being made to people with complaints about fever, chest pains and shortness of breath. In most cases, the individuals are transported to Archbold Memorial Hospital for further evaluation, Connell said.